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Want to uplift football in India, says Diego Maradona

PTI
Published : Dec 13, 2017, 1:21 am IST
Updated : Dec 13, 2017, 1:23 am IST

Maradona was visibly ecstatic and tried out his left-footers, enthralling the 7,000-odd crowd and also took a few shots.

Football great Diego Maradona at a clinic in Barasat on Tuesday. The 1986 World Cup-winning captain for Argentina is on a three-day visit to Kolkata. (Photo: AP)
 Football great Diego Maradona at a clinic in Barasat on Tuesday. The 1986 World Cup-winning captain for Argentina is on a three-day visit to Kolkata. (Photo: AP)

Barasat: Diego Maradona showed glimpses of his famous dribbling skills, his deft left-foot touches and even crooned Spanish songs as he mesmerised a bunch of school children at an event here on Tuesday.

On an unusual muggy winter afternoon, the workshop with close to 60 school children, including girls, at a private sports academy at Kadambagachi, Barasat, about 35km from Kolkata turned out to be an elaborate one.

The 57-year-old, who turned up in shorts, enjoyed every bit of it and the gruelling session saw him drench in sweat.

But the ‘God of football’ had no complaints and was eloquent in his three-minute speech in Spanish.

“I’m here for football. It is a big step, that we take with the minister — to uplift football in India,” he said about his three-day private trip.

“India really has good players and a football school of boys. Your minister and I must stop this notion that football wants India and India wants football. Together with the minister and the people, we will bring football. I have always been very well received in India. Thanks and kisses!” he signed off.

The Argentine football legend was seen shouting and making the ‘young guns’ make queues as he played passes for them to shoot from the spot. Sporting Marad-ona’s no. 10 jersey, the boys and girls tried out their skills.

Maradona was visibly ecstatic and tried out his left-footers, enthralling the 7,000-odd crowd and also took a few shots.

Former footballers Shyam Thapa, Debjit Ghosh, Sishir Ghosh among others were also present on the occasion.

Legend gives Exhibition matcha miss
Maradona may have made the trip to the city after several postponements, but the Argentine legend skipped the much-hyped ‘Diego versus Dada’ exhibition match, leaving cricket icon Sourav Ganguly disappointed.

A poorly-organised show meant that the 57-year-old became tired and left after just kicking off the match and exchanging pleasantries with Ganguly and his team.

Said Ganguly, “It would have been great to have played with him but he could not.

“Age has caught up with him but he’s too good a player. I am a huge fan of his, I have seen him win the World Cup in 1986. It was a treat to see him from close quarters.”

Tags: diego maradona, sourav ganguly